Making biscuits is an art form in the South and eating them, a mealtime tradition. Before the Civil War, biscuits were considered a delicacy and only served at Sunday suppers. These days, the smell of baking biscuits permeates the air daily as fast-food operations slip them by the bagful to hungry customers on the run.
Though there's nothing wrong with that, it pays to slow it down a bit. The craftsmanship of Southern biscuit making is something to be experienced and savored. Flaky, buttery biscuits are the draw at a multitude of South Carolina restaurants, cafes and diners, where the time-honored ritual of turning flour and fat into rich, luscious cakes is a calling card. Here are a dozen where the biscuits are a hot commodity:
This family diner turns out classic Southern biscuits. Have them on the side with butter and jelly or turn one into a hearty breakfast sandwich.
Crusty, cathead biscuits are the foundation of the menu at this Upstate favorite. Indulge your biscuit sandwich fantasy with options like brisket, catfish, country ham and fried green tomatoes. Or try a gravy flight - a choice of three gravies from a list that runs the gamut from espresso red-eye to chicken to house-made veggie chorizo.
Cafe at Williams Hardware, Travelers Rest
This gift shop/cafe is known for its made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits. Pair one with a scoop of homemade sausage gravy for a satisfying Southern breakfast.
Callie's is a South Carolina superstar that's garnering nationwide attention. Founder Carrie Morey is dedicated to the Southern art form of biscuit-making, and you can tell with each bite of these tender, buttery biscuits made by hand by a skilled crew. If you can't get to Charleston, order your favorites online for enjoyment anywhere.
Light, fluffy, buttermilk biscuits get rave reviews from locals and I-95 travelers who stop for breakfast. At dinnertime, hot cheese and garlic biscuits grace the table and are a rousing favorite, too.
This bustling breakfast/meat-and-three has been serving hungry folk since 1977. Their made-from-scratch, buttermilk biscuits are often said to be the best in the state.
Known for delectable farm-to-table dishes, this cafe has a way with biscuits, too. Try them with the house gravy or shoot the moon with the Fort Mill Flip Biscuit Bake featuring smoky bacon, cheddar cheese, sausage gravy and two eggs on a freshly made biscuit.
This Charleston institution is home to the High-Rise Biscuit, a tall, melt-in-your-mouth quick bread that's a must for anyone dining here. Get yours smothered in gravy or take the plunge and dive into the one-and-only "Charleston Nasty," their famous biscuit sandwich with fried chicken breast, cheddar cheese and sausage gravy.
Biscuits are king at Maple Street, where old-fashioned biscuit goodness gets contemporary treatment. Made from artisan flour and real butter, these traditional biscuits are transformed into complete meals. Consider the Firebird, a biscuit split and layered with a fried chicken breast, Buffalo sauce, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and house-made ranch dressing. Sweet tooth? Go for the French toast biscuits with strawberries and whipped cream.
These biscuits are to die for according to the folks who patronize this local institution. They can be enjoyed a variety of ways, including with chipped beef gravy or a slice of fried bologna.
Just like grandma's - that's the verdict handed down by many a diner after sampling the biscuits at this small-town cafe. The kitchen turns them out all day, so you can enjoy them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Mammoth biscuits with all kinds of tasty fillings tucked inside keep customers coming back for more. Fried green tomato with egg, cheese and sausage is always in demand, though the biscuits with vegetarian gravy or locally made apple butter are also in vogue.